Qatar World Cup and Manchester City handed ‘Bad Sport’ awards for ‘greenwashing’

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Both the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and reigning Premier League champions Manchester City have been handed ‘Bad Sport’ awards by a greenwashing campaign group.

The World Cup won the Overall Bad Sport Award 2022 due to its “dubious carbon neutrality claims”, as well as its partnership with Qatar Energy.

A report from Carbon Market Watch in May claimed that “creative accounting” was required to reach the “misleading” goal of carbon neutrality.

Responding to that report, a spokesperson for Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) told The Athletic: “We are on track to hosting a carbon-neutral World Cup.

“No other country has engaged so deeply with its citizens to ensure a sustainable legacy is left behind after a FIFA World Cup.

“The emissions that will be unavoidable while preparing for and hosting the tournament will be offset through investing in internationally recognized and certified carbon credits.”

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Manchester City, meanwhile, won the Own Goal Award for a flawed sustainability strategy, in which the club offered fans air miles in exchange for returning plastic bottles used on match days. 

City are sponsored by Etihad Airways.

The Athletic has contacted the club for comment. 

Other award winners include the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team, and NHL team Edmonton Oilers.

The initiative was launched by the Badvertising campaign, a group seeking “to stop adverts fuelling the climate emergency”.

Judges included former Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott and academic Bill McGuire, with entries submitted from a wide variety of sports.

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